ENG 518: Topics in Professional & Technical Writing

ENG 518: Topics in Professional & Technical Writing

Topics vary according to changes in the field, expertise of the faculty, and needs of the students. Possible topics include visual literacy, technical editing, information design, usability testing theories and practice, and professional writing in international contexts. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

3 credits

Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission.

Recent offerings:

(Spring 2017, Diaz)

A study in the theory and the practice of teaching technical and professional writing. This course will review the fundamentals of effective communication in the workplace such as processes, forms, and styles of writing in professional work environments. It will also discuss pedagogical approaches to professional writing and strategies to help students develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills as they respond to different writing environments and different audiences.

(Summer 2013, Diaz)

Topic: Communication for Innovation

Communicating Innovation will focus on communicating complex ideas to lay audiences.

We will focus on written and spoken strategies for communicating complex ideas simply. Topics include:
•    technology transfer
•    taking patents to plain English
•    collaboration in work and writing
•    pitches
•    creating effective one-pages and presentation materials
•    networking/local opportunities

Course details: Monday through Friday, 9:40-11:10 – June 3-July 5 (Last class meeting will be July 3; projects due July 5). We will meet in a regular classroom and in a computer classroom.

This class meets the General Ed Writing Intensive Requirement. For summer, the prerequisite of ENG 317 will be waived. No prerequisites for grad students.

(Spring 2013, Diaz)

Topic: Foundations of Professional Writing for Teachers and Supervisors 

This course will focus on ten topics important to business & technical writing. We will approach each topic from pedagogical (teaching) and supervisory roles. Each week, we will read scholarship, share ideas, and practice providing instruction or feedback in tactful, effective ways. We will use a case-study model in our approach to each topic.

Topics will be some variation of the following:

Organizational communication in today’s workplace

  • Formal, informal, and electronic business correspondence
  • Resume writing
  • Proposals, reports, white papers
  • Instructions and Usability
  • Content structures (DITA, XML, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Editing strategies
  • Ethics
  • Presentation and slide preparation

Assignments will include preparing an annotated bibliography of a specific topic, a conference-style proposal and presentation, and weekly case-study analysis assignments.
This class is excellent preparation for teaching ENG 317: Business & Technical Writing or the equivalent course offered by many universities and community colleges.